CONSUMER BANKING

Standard Chartered Bank

Standard Chartered to slash 10 per cent of worldwide corporate, institutional banking jobs

Separately, the bank’s chief executive for Asean and South Asia announced he’s stepping down

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 November, 2016, 9:21pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 November, 2016, 4:16am

Standard Chartered will cut one in every 10 of its global headcount in corporate and institutional banking, according to media reports, as the lender makes a new effort to reduce overheads to restore its profitability.

The job cuts will be announced this week, according to Reuters, citing people with knowledge of the matter, and will take place in all of the bank’s major business centres including Hong Kong.

Corporate and Institutional banking together form one of the bank’s biggest business units, contributing just under half of the group’s total operating income in the third quarter, which rose to US$153 million.

“We are making our corporate and institutional banking division more efficient, better able to serve our clients and ultimately to increase returns in line with the commitments made to shareholders in November 2015,” Standard Chartered said in an emailed statement, without giving the scale of the cutbacks.

At that time, the bank said that it would cut 15,000 jobs in the following three years, as it announced a loss of US$139 million for the third quarter of 2015.

Group chief executive Bill Winters said that the bank had made progress executing the strategic actions it had announced the year before, but that income and profit levels were not yet acceptable.

Banks are increasingly cutting back on positions to preserve their margins, analysts said.

“This is the worst environment I’ve seen since the global financial crisis” for recruitment, said John Mullally, director of financial services at recruitment agency Robert Walters in Hong Kong. “Banks have been holding off on making redundancies, perhaps for longer than they should have done. I expect more job losses in the future, as banks withdraw from markets or sectors where they are not major players.”

The statement from Standard Chartered said that the bank would “continue to move investment to where it can generate the greatest returns and focus on the markets which offer the greatest opportunity.”

Separately, Standard Chartered also announced yesterday that its regional chief executive for ASEAN and South Asia, Ajay Kanwal, would step down with immediate effect, following a failure to disclose some prior investments.

According to a statement issued by the bank, Kanwal said that some of his internal disclosures about his historical personal investments in businesses outside the bank did not meet its “very high standards.”

“Though I do not own these investments anymore, as a senior leader my actions should be beyond reproach. Hence with regret I have decided to tender my resignation,” the statement quoted Kanwal as saying.